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Famine In Africa Essay, Research Paper
This paper is about two African third world countries that have serious problems with hunger, Ethiopia and Sudan. Looking at the people, the land, and the history in each country, a comparison will be made about the causes and effects of famine. Famine in Ethiopia and Sudan is apparently due to ethics, politics, and global weather patterns, but the specific causes of famine in these two countries differ greatly.
Famine has stricken both Ethiopia and Sudan very harshly, with many people dying of starvation and others just waiting to die from the horrible hunger. Starvation threatens 365,000 people in Sudan, with the numbers just increasing, with no sign that they will stop increasing either (Nelan, 20). The whole country of Sudan is going through these troubles, but the famine is having its biggest impact in the Southwest and the Northern areas of Sudan (Nelan, 22). Throughout the whole country, 2.5 million square miles of land are empty, without crops that could hold valuable food for the starving people in Sudan. Those numbers are almost nothing compared to the country of Ethiopia though. It is estimated that in Ethiopia there are 4.6 million people starving or currently dead (www.news). Part of this is due to the fact that their crops became stunted drastically with the elongated dry season and an exceptionally short rainy season (www.news). All of these things make people miserable so they are forced to focus on other things to try and block out the famine troubles in both countries.
Wars and other hardships have, and still are dominating the attention of the government to try to focus on something besides their own famine troubles. Ethiopia is constantly fighting border wars with their neighboring country Eritrea (Keller, 46). Some people in Ethiopia go as far as to fast to protest the fighting that is going on (Keller, 47). Even with the little food they have to begin with, they choose to fast to get the Government s attention. In Sudan though, the famine does not escape the people s attention, with their constant riots in order to try and stop the horrendous famine (Prusher, 7). But the government has done nothing, in fact they have caused more trouble by causing civil wars between Islamic Fundamentalists, and Christians (Prusher, 7). In both countries, the main focus is always is on the war that their country is fighting, and the needs of the armies are always taken care of before any actions are taken to try and ease the people s troubles. When either country tries to take action to feed the people, they are not successful at all. There is lack of food and there is no way to distribute the existing supply because the army troops are being used to fight the constant battles.
Food is scarce enough throughout both Sudan and Ethiopia that the people have almost no energy, which makes acquiring food that much more difficult. If a citizen wishes to get food, they have to expel the little energy that they have to walk to a food center . (Corbett, 12). In Sudan, the average citizen has to walk roughly twenty miles to reach the nearest food center to get the food they need to feed their families (Corbett, 15). In Ethiopia it is even worse, the average walk for an Ethiopian citizen is a forty mile trek to acquire their food (Bertini, 65). Also in both countries, it is hard for anyone that is middle to lower class to get a vehicle to make the long journey, so almost everyone walks for their little ration of food that they can get (Corbett, 15). In Ethiopia, roughly twenty percent of the people that start to take the journey to get their food, die in the process, since they are so week to begin with due to the famine (Bertini, 69). The death rate of the treks made to get food in Sudan are not as severe, but these long walks continue to occur in both countries; and will continue to as long as the famine is at its peak.
The famine looks like it will continue to wipe out thousands of people, just like it has been doing over the many years, and decades. In Sudan, the famine has been a problem for roughly two decades continuously (Nelan, 18). In Ethiopia though, it seems that neither the government nor the people can stop the bleeding . The famine in Ethiopia has been going on off and on for three decades (www.elca). Governments in both countries have tried to stop their famine, even though not one hundred percent of their effort has gone to this cause. It is still not a top priority for either country. In fact, in Sudan, for those who are in the upper class or of government status, food is much easier to acquire (Rosenblum, 9). Because of this it blinds the upper class to the extent of the problem; these are the people who have the power to help turn their famine around (Rosenblum, 11). The problem of favors among the upper class is not the only type of favoring that goes on within Sudan.
There is the apparent problem of favoring; if you are wealthy and live well, there will always be food for you to eat (Rosenblum 11). There is sexism among the lower classes in Sudan (Rosenblum 14). If you are a male, you are more likely to receive food before your wife or sister (Rosenblum 14). Sometimes women do not receive food when they travel to the food centers (Rosenblum 15). The only advantage , if you could call it that, for women is if they have children along side them when they come to the food center (Rosenblum 15). If a woman has children when she approaches a food center, she will be given food before a male, just due to the fact that she has a family to feed. Due to the sexism in Sudan, the women are not allowed to speak up for themselves to maybe help their cause and gain rights for themselves (Rosenblum 16). In Ethiopia, none of this happens. There is no sexism, or favoring of a particular social class. Everyone is on a level plane fighting for his or her food. This is still not a good thing, but at least every person has an equal chance to be fed. Due to the troubles of famine in both countries, other sacrifices have had to be made.
Along with the famine, citizens of Ethiopia and Sudan have endured other hardships. In Sudan, due to the droughts farmers have been forced to plow their fertile land that they used to use for their private farming and garden. The government then uses it to grow cash crops to feed the people of Sudan (Rosenblum, 20). This of course makes the farmers mad, which leads to them burning the crops out of pure frustration (Rosenblum 22). This does not help them though, it only causes them to be fined and more food lost. In Ethiopia, things are no better. In Ethiopia, disease is the other major problem (www.elca). During their major drought, many died, and could not be buried fast enough, so disease spread (www.elca). When the diseases broke out, people were not educated either on how to prevent them from getting the horrendous disease (www.elca). This lead to the disease spreading, causing other concerns amongst Ethiopians besides the overwhelming famine. Having a disease floating around a country, like in Ethiopia, is very different then having droughts and shortages of food crops, like in Sudan, but both problems are very big. Ethiopia and Sudan are third world countries where economics is a major factor of why all of these horrible things have happened and are happening.
The impossible financial situation of Sudan and Ethiopia is so well known internationally that other countries want to help them make a comeback. One of the biggest contributing countries in the cause to rebuild Ethiopia and Sudan, is America (Bertini, 86). Ethiopia s situation is more publicized by the organizations that organize the many fund-raisers to help than other countries that are in need of financial help, like Sudan (Bertini 87). Despite the obvious needs for help from other countries for Sudan and Ethiopia, there are people who feel that the services and other helping aids should not be offered (Bertini 90). The thinking is that they have dug their own ditch . Most choose not to listen to this idea of ignoring famine in other foreign countries, which is good. The only problem with the help that is being given to Ethiopia is that the food which is purchased has no real effective way to be distributed to the wide open country of Ethiopia or Sudan (Bertini 93). Therefore the food just sits there not being distributed. The governments and others are currently trying to fix these problems.
People are trying to fix a lot of things in the countries of Sudan and Ethiopia. Very slowly, things are beginning to be turned around. But the weather is still causing droughts in Ethiopia. People are still revolting and causing more trouble in Sudan, and women still do not have rights. These are all contributing to hunger being such a dominating problem in Ethiopia and Sudan. The people are still starving and there should be no reason for that, it just should not happen.
The ethical problems, politics, and the weather patterns keep these two countries from making much progress in ending famine.
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